Yash Bhatia

PokerBaazi teams up with Shark Tank and DMRC to improve game perception

The real-money gaming platform allocates approximately 15-20% of its budget to marketing efforts.

Shark Tank integration, DMRC branding, and conducting Poker tournaments with a pool price of Rs 62.5 crore, are some of the efforts by PokerBaazi to spearhead a paradigm shift in consumer perception of the game and position it as skill-based rather than luck-based."

Varun Ganjoo, CMO & co-founder, Baazi Games says, “Whatever we do, our key mission is to position Poker in the right manner. It’s already a skill game, so we don’t have to enforce it as a skill-based game. We just have to position it right, whether it’s on outdoor, online or traditional media. That’s the only objective behind every partnership.”

Established in 2014, Baazi Games operates skill gaming platforms including PokerBaazi, SportsBaazi, and CardBaazi. 

According to the Registrar of Companies, Baazi Games saw its scale jump nearly five-fold between FY21 and FY23. The report states that the revenue from operations grew 2.8x to Rs 232 crore during the fiscal year ending March 2023. 

Ganjoo reveals that the brand allocates approximately 15-20% of its revenue to marketing efforts, having doubled its spending compared to the previous year. 

He adds that PokerBaazi contributes to 85% of the company's revenue, with the remaining 15% generated from other platforms.

‘Shark Tank India’ association 

PokerBaazi partnered with SonyLIV as a co-powered sponsor in the Shark Tank India's second edition. In the third edition, the real money gaming platform has joined as the co-presenting sponsor with SonyLIV. 

"Moving from being second-tier sponsors last year to the top category co-presented sponsors, this year. The difference lies in visibility, frequency, and integrations. We were visible more with increased spots and daily integrations on the show compared to last year's lesser visibility and weekly integrations,” he highlights.

To enhance viewer engagement through collaborations, the platform introduced the PokerBaazi Zone. The show's host, Rahul Dua, engages with pitchers by posing questions related to their brand. As a gesture of appreciation, Dua presents them with a gift of an entry ticket to the National Poker Series, PokerBaazi's annual poker tournament. 

Ganjoo mentions, “This year marked our second consecutive collaboration with Shark Tank. The essence of the show aligns closely with what we offer and the audience we aim to reach. Poker shares similarities with entrepreneurship, offering valuable life and decision-making skills. This synergy is what drew us to Shark Tank.” 

He emphasises, “Associating with such a prestigious platform not only lends credibility to our brand but also attracts a target audience with significant overlap.”

With the collaboration, the real money-gaming platform observed a 10 to 15% increase in traffic and other metrics.

PokerBaazi collaborated only with SonyLIV, the digital partner of the show. Recognising the shift in consumption patterns towards digital platforms, PokerBaazi focuses on engaging its target audience, primarily digital users rather than traditional television viewers.

Geographically, the platform’s TG comes 50% from metros, and 50% from tier 2 and 3 cities. Demographically, it is from 18 to 45 years old. 

DMRC branding

PokerBaazi has partnered with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the branding of three metro stations in Delhi including Arjan Garh, Ghitroni and Sultanpur. 

PokerBaazi's DMRC station branding
PokerBaazi's DMRC station branding

Ganjoo highlights, “Delhi Metro is the most credible and eye-grabbing property and these stations are busiest routes in South Delhi and also provide relevant audience regions.”

One of the objectives of the collaboration is to establish a long-term presence, aiming for consumers to naturally associate the brand's name with the location. 

Ganjoo explains that this transformation won't occur overnight. To drive it, the brand must maintain belief and trust in these initiatives over an extended period.

Other Initiatives 

In March 2024 PokerBaazi hosted the fourth edition of the National Poker Series (NPS), where the winners were felicitated by former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh.   

In 2023, PokerBaazi partnered with PokerGO to bring global poker content to India in Hindi. It aims to drive awareness of the game in India and present content to users from the world’s best poker players. 

In 2022, PokerBaazi onboarded Shahid Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The real money gaming brand is looking to unroll a new campaign with the actor in the coming weeks. 

In January 2024 Google allowed real money gaming apps to be listed on Google’s Play Store. Earlier, users had to download the app’s installation file directly from the game’s website. 

Ganjoo states, “In terms of poker, it is a sport even within real money gaming, globally it has taken the lion's share. So the golden period for poker is truly going to be here now in India."

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